A Relay for Life: Fighting the Big “C”

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Imagine being at the doctor’s office for your regular check up; there seems to be something concerning your doctor. You sit with your hands shaking and knees trembling as you wait anxiously to see what’s taking so long. Then the unthinkable, you hear that dreadful six letter word C-A-N-C-E-R and in that moment your entire life completely changes.More thanone million people in the United States get cancer each year (American Cancer Society). For many Americans, that fearful scenario is a realityevery day. The good news is that 2 out of 3 of those who are diagnosed with cancer will survive it. You can help continue the fight against this disease. This month, NYIT ishaving their fifth annual Relay for Life; a non-profit organization geared towards raising money to find a cure for cancer. The money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society, sponsor of Relay for Life. In addition to funding lifesaving research, every dollar raised helps the American Cancer Society provide services to cancer patients in need: providing transportation to treatment, free lodging for out of state patients, and much more. With your help we’re not just fighting one type of cancer; we’re fighting for every life threatened by every cancer in every community.

The history of Relay for Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. He decided to personally raise money for the fight against cancer by doing what he enjoyed- doing marathons. Dr. Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. Ultimately raising $27,000 towards the ACS’s fight against the nation’s biggest health threat- cancer.  While he circled the track those 24 hours, he thought about how others could take part, so he envisioned a 24 hour relay event that could raise money to fight cancer. That vision is now a global phenomenon in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Each year, more than four million people across the globe join the Relay for Life movement.

Relay for Life has been a part of NYIT for five years. Michael Scarpa-Burnett, the Dean of Campus Life said, “Relay was established at NYIT by a member of the Student Government. SGA was very invested and passionate about Relay and being their advisor I was involved with it from the beginning, but it has grown into a campus wide tradition now.” The event is on April 19th-20th from 7p.m to 7a.m. Each team take turns walking or running around the track. Kara Kurtz, the chairperson of Relay for Life said, “The track is on the lacrosse field next to the student activities center. The laps vary in length, it all depends,and they are usually 10 minutes because they are walked.” There’s a Survivor lap, Luminary lap, and Care giver lap. “The first three laps are the most exciting,” Kara commented. “Because you get to cheer the survivors on and applaud them for their fight. The second lap you honor the caregivers and then the third is when everyone joins in.” There’ll be food, games, and activities as well as entertainment and a luminary ceremony to honor those who are survivors and remember those who lost their battle to cancer. There’s also Relay for Life t-shirts selling on campus on Thursdays from 12:30-1:50 p.m. in Harry Schure Hall through the event date. Anyone who would like to donate their hair on the day of the relay will get a free haircut from one of the top notch hair salons. Dean Burnett added, “Each year is different in so many ways. It’s an emotional event but a rewarding one as well. Manhattan campus is very involved in the event this year and we look forward to that collaboration being wonderful.”

The journey to end cancer starts with one single step. When you walk to end cancer at a Relay event, it’s your opportunity to not only honor cancer survivors and remember loved ones lost it’s also to raise awareness about what we can do to stay well from cancer and raise money to help put an end to this epidemic.“I relay because it gives me a sense of hope that one day we will find a cure for cancer,” replied Kara. “I have had many friends and close relatives survive and pass away from cancer and there isn’t much you can do for them except be supportive and participate in relay for life. I know that I can make a difference if I am proactive and help raise awareness about relay and get people to donate.” “I have lost way too many peoplein my life to cancer,” said Dean Burnett. “And have a lot of close friends and family members who are survivors. I do it in honor and memory of them all.” It’s not too late for you to join the event and be a part of a worthy cause. For more information on Relay for Life go to www.relayforlife.org/nyit for details about joining and making donations. “Being able to come together as a community to help battle this horrible disease is amazing,” concluded Dean Burnett. “Knowing that in some way we here at NYIT have helped to get to this point is amazing. It makes us all want to keep doing Relay for Life until they find a cure for cancer.”

 

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